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Region VIII Compliance Assistance Specialist Highlights Benefits of Workplace Safety to Local Groups

The Billings Area Safety/Health (BASH) Coalition is a local safety and health organization established in 1995. It is made up of companies of all sizes that have an interest in health and safety in the workplace. The group, which has no formal membership requirements or fees, meets to share information about ways to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.

The Safety Bureau of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry arranged for Mike Foreman, the Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS) of the OSHA Area Office in Billings, Montana, to give a presentation called "Safety in the Workplace—What are the Benefits?" at a BASH meeting on January 8, 2004. The two-hour presentation addressed various requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970. The provisions discussed included the responsibilities of employers and employees established by the OSH Act. Foreman also discussed the duty of employers to comply with the safety and health standards issued by OSHA under the authority of the Act and the benefits of implementing an effective safety and health program. He also described OSHA's free Consultation Service, which is designed to assist employers in identifying and correcting hazards as well as in developing and improving safety and health management systems.

There were 55 attendees at the meeting, including personnel from major companies in the area and federal agency representatives. Most questions came from employers and focused on the key features of a workplace safety program. The biggest areas of concern were how to involve employees and ways to improve attitudes to help build a positive safety culture.

Foreman later gave the same presentation to a group of administrative staff at a local hospital at the request of the hospital's Safety Director, who attended the January BASH meeting.

For more information, please contact Michael Foreman, the Compliance Assistance Specialist of the OSHA Billings Area Office.

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